Crazy Sexy Vegan

If you would have told me a year ago I was going to be eating mostly vegan and stop drinking coffee, I would have laughed in your face. Who me? I love cheese! And bacon! And how — more importantly, why-oh-why — would I live without my delicious soy latte every day?

I’ve always been someone who doesn’t believe in ‘rules’ around eating. Still am, which I’ll explain, but let’s just say that my not having rules meant that I was up for eating pretty much anything. I mean, I’ve never been one to eat a lot of red meat, but I would always order pepperoni on my pizza, never say no to prosciutto and only in the last few years discovered the deliciousness that is al pastor tacos. For my fridge at home, I would always buy chicken breasts, sausage, turkey bacon and turkey cold cuts, along with cheese of all kinds. They were staples.

Now I don’t buy any of that, because I’m mostly vegan. Yup, for the last 6 months (since February of this year), I’m now roughly 90% vegan… which might sound weird, but it’s actually pretty awesome. You can jump down to ‘What does 90% Vegan mean?’ or keep reading to see what inspired this shift.

Pita veggie sammy noms
Pita veggie sammy noms

 

How did this all come about?
This change came sort of unexpected a few months ago. I had started following Danielle LaPorte on Twitter, and one day she tweeted a link to her Skype conversation with Kris Carr, author of Crazy Sexy Diet.

I watched it, while lazily lying in bed, and I was intrigued. Armed with my new Kindle, I immediately downloaded the book to check it out… still having no idea what an impact this book would have on me.

Now, first, I’d like to say that I really dislike that there’s the word ‘Diet’ in this title. This isn’t a diet book in the same vein of South Beach Diet or any other fad diet, etc. Furthermore, I flat out don’t believe in diets. They’re horrible and disregard the key ingredient to making any long-term change: Listening to your body.

If you find yourself seeking answers outside of yourself, you’re looking in the wrong place.

After years of wrestling with my own body issues, my rule of thumb is that if I find myself seeking answers outside of myself, I’m looking in the wrong place. 99% of change happens within, and it’s not about finding the latest diet, hard core work-out regimen or diet pill.

This isn’t to say that it’s not helpful to have a support system of some kind, like someone to exercise with or a friend willing to dine healthy with you, but running to a quick fix or an extreme often proves unsustainable in the long run, and you can easily find yourself right back where you started.

So, no, this is not a diet book. It’s a way-of-life book. It’s an awareness book. It’s scientific! That part I really like.

Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr
Eat your veggies, ignite your spark
and live like you mean it!

Kris Carr makes it SO fun to read, too. Her spunk and energy comes through like a ray of sunshine, and I’m pretty sure we’re BFFs in another life.

Kris wrote this book after learning more than she ever bargained for about what it takes to be healthy. In 2003 she was diagnosed with a rare and incurable stage 4 cancer, and set out to see what she could do to move the odds on her side. She made a documentary about it as well, that you can get on Netflix, and I highly recommend it.

What is the Crazy Sexy Diet?
In a nutshell, it’s all about getting more oxygen into your body, with whole fresh foods; fresh fruits and vegetables (organic whenever possible), whole grains, no processed foods. More importantly, Kris enlightens her readers about how certain food creates acid in our bodies, and which food help support alkaline balance.

Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which of those two are best, right? Meat, dairy and processed foods only create acid in our bodies, while green, fresh, whole foods create a more balanced alkaline; the result of which has innumerable rejuvenating effects!

What does 90% Vegan mean?
It means I don’t have rules, which for me is important. It means I listen to what I’m craving and I have it. The funny thing is, knowing what causes acid vs. alkaline in my body, I don’t even crave a lot of the foods I used to eat on a daily basis.

It means that, each day, my guiding compass is to eat whole, fresh foods. Always listening to my body and staying in tune with what I want. For me, my diet (in the scientific sense of the word, not the mag fads crap) consists of fresh fruit and a green juice in the morning, lots of fresh salads during the day, hummus, flax seed, tofu, veggies, whole grains. I naturally migrate away from a lot of wheat and carbs, but if I’m craving a sandwich, I don’t freak out about the bread. I sometimes buy sprouted pita bread for home, and if I have a grain, I have, brown rice, brown rice pasta or quinoa. Mmmm… quiiiinooaaaaa. So good.

my yummy vegan stirfry
my yummy vegan stirfry

 

What’s in the 10%? aka Reasons Why I Will Never Be 100% Vegan:
As I said before, life is too short to be bound by rules, and there are simply foods I don’t want to have to live without. Yes, I have a running list:

  • butter
  • dark chocolate
  • whip cream
  • Bailey’s
  • a small amount of fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, feta or parmasean, complimenting a salad or sandwich
  • sushi
  • salmon, ahi & scallops
  • tuna sandwiches

Adding a few more from discoveries in 2012:

  • italian dry salami
  • Emmy’s Spaghetti & Meatballs – I could never give those up 🙂

What, no coffee?
I know, right?! I have been a coffee drinker for as long as I can remember, and pretty much any time I hear anyone getting off caffeine or coffee, I give them a puzzled “WHY!?” If I was told I would have to stop drinking coffee, or if I tried to do it on my own, I don’t think I would have. Again, I’m not a fan of rules. 😉 Instead, this is how it went down, back in February: I hadn’t had coffee in a few days (I only had one cup a day, and every once and awhile would go without), but on about the 3rd day I decided to go for a walk, and grab a coffee while I chatted on the phone with my Mom. But the coffee tasted horrible. Now, I’m a coffee snob, so I get that it might have just been bad coffee, but this was more than that. It was that – at a core level – I didn’t want it in my body. I threw out a full cup and kept walking.

I still drink caffeine, in tea, but I don’t have it daily at all. I maybe have it a few times a month, actually. I don’t need it. In fact, I’ve found I’ve been able to run on way less sleep!! There’s something about pumping caffeine into your body every day that can really tax your adrenals, and I like that I’m not doing that to my body every day. Oddly I don’t miss the warm cup of joe, like I thought I would, either. I was drinking soy latte’s, and I just don’t want that cup of milk and sugar every day now (I was drinking unsweetened soymilk, but had a pretty strong addiction to Splenda).

UPDATE: I had coffee for the first time in _6 months_ this week! It was a Blue Bottle soy latte and it was delicious! Just being totally transparent. It was a craving and I let myself have it. Overall it didn’t do much for me though, besides being pretty delicious. Also I only had a Luna bar to eat (I never buy those, I got it at the conference last weekend), and I was bummed the combination of the two was such an acid forming combo (no fresh, unprocessed green/alkaline foods in any of that!). Back to my juice.

Nice to Meat You
I’ve never been someone to eat a lot of red meat, but over the last few years I’ve started eating even less and less meat overall. Last year I met a friend who inspired me to think more carefully around the meat I consume. I’d heard of people only eating meat while dining out, as to not continually eat it at home, but this friend reframed it in a whole new way. He simply stated that he wouldn’t eat meat that he didn’t know where it had come from. Hmm. That made me think. How often do we mindlessly eat meat that we don’t know where it came from? The chicken burrito. The pepperoni on our pizza. The scrambled eggs we eat at brunch (this is a big one that so few people ever think about… eggs are in everything!) Plus, most vegetarians I know still eat eggs, and cheese, but I don’t understand that, because those foods are made from animals, and isn’t that what vegetarianism is all about?

When dining out, don’t eat meat that you don’t know where it came from (this includes eggs).

The thing Kris does a great job at is explaining how all of these things: meat, milk, cheese, eggs, are acidic in our systems. This isn’t to say that they’re horrible and you shouldn’t eat them at all – that’s your choice. But for me, combined with the awareness around how our livestock is being raised and processed in America [watch Food, Inc.], it really hit home.

My delicious salad
I make the most delicious salads!

 

While I was in Europe recently, I lived on greek salads (yes, despite there being a major ecoli breakout in cucumbers and tomatoes at the time – I live on the edge. heh), but one thing I didn’t expect was how incredibly delicious the cheese would be. They would serve a huge block of fresh goat cheese or deliciously fresh feta. Maybe I just hadn’t had cheese in awhile, but I am just saying, I enjoyed myself. And while I didn’t have a classic German sausage while I was in Prague, I did partake in the classic Prague Goulash dish, which is all about the meat and dumplings. All that deliciousness and I’m definitely still battin’ 85-90%, baby.

It’s not about rules, it’s about living. It’s about feeling alive. Healthy. In tune with my body.

My next step is that I want to buy a juicer (anyone have a good one they’re not using?). And I’ve even considered growing wheatgrass, too. I’ve always been a fan of wheatgrass. It’s sooo good for you.

I’m far from perfect on all of the above, and still have my vices, but I’m making small changes and the choices are getting easier.

It all starts with awareness, and I’m so incredibly grateful for Kris Carr and her Crazy Sexy Revolution for waking me up and inspiring me to live a cleaner life.

Sidenotes:

  • I actually started a Tumblr a few years back called Nice to Meat You. Funnily enough, I made it with two friends who were vegetarian and now eat meat… and now I’m the vegan! :p
  • I’ve started a Flickr set called Eating Vegan, if you want to see what I’ve been enjoying eating and/or want inspiration. It’s easy!

What’s your guiding compass around health?

Leave a Reply 9 comments

Ryan - August 10, 2011 Reply

So glad to hear it!
Btw. most dark chocolate is already vegan (it’s the milk choc stuff that’s got the animal in it); Follow Your Heart makes an amazing mayo substitute called Vegenaise that’s fantastic; and Earth Balance is a must for swapping out the butter (and thus the cholesterol)…

    Willo O'Brien - August 11, 2011 Reply

    Mmm, dark chocolate. I actually even looked that up as I was posting it, but it’s a vice nonetheless, so I thought I’d leave it in. Good to know it’s mostly safe.

    Definitely going to pick up some Vegenaise. I’ve been using some Miso Mayo, which is pretty good, too. Thanks for the tips, Ryan!

larry h - August 10, 2011 Reply

Damn, Willo, just when I thought you couldn’t be any sexier or smarter, you prove me wrong. Again. Love it! Check out Forks Over Knives if you haven’t seen it yet. Pretty amazing info on plant-based eating vs. animal-based.

    Willo O'Brien - August 11, 2011 Reply

    I haven’t seen it – thank you, Larry! I just saved it to my Netflix Q (says it comes out 8/30).

    Also? Best comment ever. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words! xo

Derek Edwards (@derek048) - August 11, 2011 Reply

This is how you eat 90% vegan. :o) http://t.co/R0elRai via @willotoons

Jason - September 11, 2011 Reply

“Change starts from within”, I like the way that sounds. I curious how the book will inspire me as well and maybe I would be as disciplined as you. Health is wealth. Life is indeed wonderful when we are living it healthy.

Gael Huynh - September 29, 2011 Reply

I’m truly inspired Willo! Time to clean up the fridge!!! —thanks for sharing!

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